Just when I think there are no tears left, out pour rivers more of them, and I thank The Lord that He pulled us through this weekend. It was by His grace, for sure. In dealing with the loss of our son, we’ve heard all sorts of things meant to prepare us for the life ahead. We’ve heard that it would be hard to perform our daily tasks and functions or that there will be some days we won’t even want to get out of bed. We were warned that it would be hard to go through Christiano’s things or to see certain pictures of him, and we were also told it would be especially difficult to get through special occasions and holidays. So far, we’ve met with each one of these things, and they’ve all brought some level of heartache. This past weekend we celebrated, our daughter, Gabriella’s fifteenth birthday. I woke up determined to take a day off from grieving, so I set some rules for myself: no crying, no talking about the passing of Christiano and no thinking about him, either. This was Gabriella’s day, and we were going to celebrate the goodness of God in her life. She had gone through enough and I desired for her to have the day off from the hurt. Now, this may come as a big shock to all of you, but my plan was a bust. The harder I worked to push him out of my mind, the more frustrated I became, and by two-o’clock, I had a mini-meltdown while mopping the kitchen floor. I was so troubled knowing that my eldest son was not going to walk through our door to wish his sister a Happy Birthday. We had never spent one single birthday without all six of us in attendance. This birthday, I wouldn’t see him outside playing football with the guys, making jokes or getting birthday cake all over his face, and I thought, ‘How am I ever going to do this?’ But, God was faithful to answer, ‘You don’t have to.’ The pressure coming down on me to ‘be strong’ wasn’t coming from God or my husband; it wasn’t coming from Gabriella or my other children, but from me, myself, and I. One thing I’ve learned is that when we put pressure on ourselves to ‘be’ anything, it’s gonna fail every time. This goes for all situations, not just grieving. Of course, we can ‘be strong,’ but not from trying or striving. We can only ever truly ‘be strong’ when it’s’ in The Lord.
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.” Ephesians 6:10 (KJV) And, we do this by putting on His armor. His armor is ready for us to step into at all times, so we never have to go it alone. God can handle our pain, our hurt, our anxieties and our every tear. In fact, there will come a day that He’ll wipe every one of them away. It is ok for me to cry if I need to. I can cast every anxiety on The Lord because He cares for me, for it is then that I will be sustained. (1 Peter 5:7) Of course, I miss him and everything he brought to our lives. I miss his silliness and his stories that went on for days. I miss his voice and his laugh. I miss his ability to make us feel like we were the best family in the universe. I miss his effortless naps and his clumsy feet. But, mostly, I miss his embrace. Christiano gives the best hugs and he always knew when I needed one. There was a spot made just for me on his chest where I would lay my head and listen to his heart beat into my ear. What a sweet, sweet sound it was.